Renowned civil engineer Lord Robert Mair CBE, recognised internationally as an authority on major infrastructure projects involving tunnelling, has been appointed chair of the delivery company for the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro (CAM).
The Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority today (September 30, 2020) approved a recommendation to make Lord Mair board chair of the CAM special purpose vehicle (SPV), which has been incorporated with the name One CAM Limited.
The appointment has been welcomed by Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer, who said Lord Mair’s appointment represents an important milestone for CAM and the ongoing transition to delivery via the dedicated One CAM Ltd SPV.
Lord Mair’s career has combined work as a leading academic at the University of Cambridge with providing cutting-edge expertise for a range of challenging underground construction schemes nationally and globally.
Business case work completed on CAM so far has identified tunnels under Cambridge city centre as a key component of creating a joined-up, world-leading regional public transport network.
Lord Mair’s extensive experience includes being involved in the design and construction of London’s Jubilee Line Extension, HS1 and Crossrail. He is currently advising on design and construction aspects of HS2. Lord Mair has advised on or been a member of expert review panels for major international underground construction projects, notably metro projects in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bologna, Florence, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Rome, Singapore and Warsaw.
Mayor James Palmer said: “The appointment of Lord Mair is another step forward for the delivery of CAM. The dedicated delivery body, One CAM Ltd, will harness the leading expertise locally, nationally and internationally, we need to make CAM happen.
“With Lord Mair as board chair, we have someone who is globally recognised as being at the very cutting edge of advanced infrastructure delivery. With his Cambridge roots, I could not think of anyone better to be the first chair of our delivery body tasked with delivering an innovative, world-leading public transport network for our region.
“This is another key step forward for CAM. We will continue to build up the SPV with the right expertise to drive CAM’s delivery. Alongside this we are continuing to press forward the development of a One CAM approach, which will deliver CAM as one, integrated system.
“And we have just launched a challenge to some of the best brains in the market to help shape the future of the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro (CAM) by developing conceptual designs for the vehicle, its infrastructure and how the system might operate.”
On being recommended for appointment, Lord Robert Mair said last week: “I grew up, went to school and graduated in Cambridge, returning to the University in 1998 after 27 years in industry. With this background I have a very strong affection and affiliation with this great city and the region.
“The vision for CAM is exciting. A flexible, innovative system will be essential in creating the better transport future the region needs and deserves, while also delivering the decarbonised journeys needed to help safeguard the environment. The unprecedented effects of a global pandemic have also caused a significant shift in how people travel, which must also be factored into any new transport scheme.
“Now is the moment to deliver a truly pioneering system benefitting people and businesses across the region for decades to come.”
Lord Mair is Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of Research at the University of Cambridge and was President of the Institution of Civil Engineers from 2017-18.
He sits as chair of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Science Advisory Council, providing independent scientific and technical advice to DfT on all matters relating to road, rail, marine and aviation. Since 2015, he has sat as an Independent Crossbench Member of the House of Lords and is a member of its Select Committee on Science and Technology.
The next steps will be the recruitment of the SPV Board, with recommended appointees set to be brought back to the November meeting. Further recruitment, including for a chief executive, is ongoing. Once fully established, the SPV will give the dedicated expertise and resource needed to deliver a scheme of the size and scale of CAM.
The Mayoral Combined Authority will retain strategic control of CAM, ensuring it will deliver against the overall vision to support the future prosperity of the globally competitive economy, while protecting and enhancing the environment.